Murder in the First [Blu-ray]
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The story of the trial that shut down the dungeons of Alcatraz. Based on a true story that occured in the 1930s. A young, inexperienced public defender is assigned to defend an inmate accused of committing murder while behind bars.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
The too often (and sometimes easily) dismissed Kevin Bacon is here Henri Young, a role as powerfully haunting as any actor could dream of. With an uncannily natural affinity for Henri, Bacon finds his way into the marrow of this tortured, downtrodden prisoner. In what could have too easily turned into a over-the-top "Look, Ma, I'm acting!" role, Bacon strikes a balance that is unique and rare. Unafraid of any aspect of Henri it becomes a performance nothing less than astonishing in its honesty.
The first 20 minutes presents us with the naked, filthy animal the system wishes to portray him as Henri. Yet, even here, with little more than a mad scene comprised of grunts, screams and incoherent mumblings about baseball, multiplication tables and The Lord's Prayer, Bacon makes Henri shine beneath the hair and grime introducing us to a pitiable sorrowful man not only wronged by the system, but utterly destroyed then forgotten by it. This is one of those rare performances where the work outshines the actor - I'd forgotten entirely I was even watching an actor.
It's a hard heart that will not be moved by Henri and Bacon should look back at this performance with nothing but pride. (The fact he was not nominated for an Oscar is astonishing as his performance.)
Christian Slater gives one of his best performances as well and Gary Oldman is, (predictably) wonderfully evil as is William H. Macy. The court room scenes fairly crackle, but ultimately the heart and soul of this movie is found in Kevin Bacon's Henri.Read more ›
Upon looking up some information on the Internet regarding the "real" Henri Young, it seems that the filmmakers of this finely-crafted and well-shot Warner Brothers' drama did, indeed, dish up a liberal dose of "dramatic license" regarding the true events in Mr. Young's life. But, I suppose, this is to be expected from a Hollywood story depicting real-life people and events.
One thing that's been fictionalized for the movie is the brief scene when we find out that Young died while still behind Alcatraz bars. It's never fully explained in the film just exactly HOW Young died while still in prison. I think this should have been more thoroughly spelled out in the movie (even from a "fictionalized" point-of-view).
Evidently, according to info I can gather, Young did NOT die while in prison, and, in fact, might still be alive to this day. Young disappeared after being paroled from a Washington State prison in 1972, after serving additional prison time for another murder. (Sounds like another "D.B. Cooper" type of saga.)
"Artistic filmmaking license" notwithstanding, "Murder In The First" is an excellent piece of motion-picture entertainment, IMO.Read more ›
He died of a brain tumor last year, this being one of the only movies he could remember.
There were three survivors of the thwarted Alcatraz escape that Young participated in, not two. He was never held in solitary for years, it was a matter of months, nor did he kill Rufus McCain in front of 200 cafeteria witnesses on the day of his release from "the Hole," it was fully a year later and happened in the tailoring shop. Young didn't die of abuse in 1942 but was shipped from prison to prison, held on that first murder conviction, until he skipped parole in '72 and was never heard from again.
Accepting then that the film is a work of pure fiction, it can be examined strictly on its own merits. As entertainment and as a sob story, it works only if one discounts a great deal of overacting. Kevin Bacon as Young is the most egregious scenery-chewer of several. His cartoonish Henri is reminiscent of Dwight Frye's Renfield or Laughton's Hunchback. Bent, hobbled and badly scarred, both physically and emotionally, wild-eyed Kevin sets a high bar that his fellow hams can't quite clear. Gary Oldman as Asst. Warden Glenn comes mighty close, though.
The dangerously sadistic Glenn is unable on the witness stand to secrete his psychotic nature from the jury when Young's attorney James Stamphill (Christian Slater) pokes him with a metaphoric stick of truth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this movie and the quality of the DVD is perfect.Published 26 days ago by Happy Amazon Customer
I have seen this movie before and it is one worth seeing more than once. I am a fan of Kevin Bacon and was not disappointed in his performance here. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Papotac
Very Good Movie. One of Kevin Bacon's best ever. Worth buying. Christian Slater is brilliant too. This Movie was very touching. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jason Sturges
Little slow, but some really good acting by Oldman, Bacon & Slater!Published 4 months ago by Robert Duchow
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